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‘Surrender to terror’: Right-wing MKs slam government’s gestures to Palestinians

As opposition lawmakers issue angry statements, Interior Minister Shaked appears to push back against Lapid, says East Jerusalem housing plans will be delayed by just a week

Palestinian laborers work at a construction site in a new housing project in Har Homa in East Jerusalem, July 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
Palestinian laborers work at a construction site in a new housing project in Har Homa in East Jerusalem, July 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they unfolded.

Report: Israel agrees to sell anti-drone technology to Bahrain

Illustrative: The national flags of Bahrain, Israel and America are seen on an El Al plane to Bahrain flying a delegation to sign a series of bilateral agreements between Jerusalem and Manama, at Ben Gurion airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, October 18, 2020.  (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool)
Illustrative: The national flags of Bahrain, Israel and America are seen on an El Al plane to Bahrain flying a delegation to sign a series of bilateral agreements between Jerusalem and Manama, at Ben Gurion airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, October 18, 2020. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool)

Israel has agreed to sell drones and anti-drone systems to Bahrain, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper cites a senior Bahraini official saying that the Mossad and Shin Bet have been working with Manama in recent months to train its intelligence officers.

The same official told the Wall Street Journal that Israel has agreed to sell drones as well as anti-drone systems to the country.

Israel and Bahrain normalized ties in 2020 as part of the Abraham Accords.

Politically homeless Hendel promises ‘big news’ coming soon

Yoaz Hendel speaks at a conference in Ramat Gan on September 8, 2019. (Flash90)
Yoaz Hendel speaks at a conference in Ramat Gan on September 8, 2019. (Flash90)

Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel tells supporters at a conference in Shoham that he will have news on the political front soon enough.

Hendel was left out of the merger between Blue and White and New Hope that was announced earlier this week. Hendel and MK Zvi Hauser make up the Derech Eretz faction that ran in the past few elections with both of the newly merged parties.

The minister says he will work hard to make sure that prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not return to power, and promises supporters that “soon there will be big news” on his political future.

US envoy: Biden will ’emphasize again and again the vision of a two-state solution’

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides (center) speaks at a gala for journalists at the Touro Restaurant in Jerusalem, July 12, 2022. (Lazar Berman/Times of Israel)
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides (center) speaks at a gala for journalists at the Touro Restaurant in Jerusalem, July 12, 2022. (Lazar Berman/Times of Israel)

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides says that the purpose of US President Joe Biden’s visit is to emphasize why the US-Israel relationship is important to Israelis and Americans, Jews, Muslims and Christians.

Biden will also “emphasize again and again the vision of a two-state solution,” Nides says, speaking at a gala for journalists at the Touro Restaurant in Jerusalem.

Biden will aim to connect with the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, he says, and display “why he cares, why this place is so important.”

Bennett reportedly boycotted cabinet meeting, alleging Lapid is briefing against him

Outoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, right, and his interim successor Yair Lapid speak after the passage of a bill to dissolve the Knesset, June 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Outoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, right, and his interim successor Yair Lapid speak after the passage of a bill to dissolve the Knesset, June 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reportedly boycotted Sunday’s cabinet meeting in protest of Prime Minister Yair Lapid briefing reporters about him.

According to the Kan public broadcaster, Bennett is accusing Lapid of being behind several reports about Bennett’s demands for better conditions and about the former premier pushing to take part in events during US President Joe Biden’s visit.

The outlet quotes Bennett associates as denying the report, saying he stayed away from the cabinet meeting to give the stage to Lapid.

Bennett’s Yamina party called the report “fake.”

Report: Lapid nixes Maccabiah speech after organizers refused to let him speak first

President Isaac Herzog meets with incoming prime minister Yair Lapid at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, June 30, 2022. (Haim Zach/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog meets with incoming prime minister Yair Lapid at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, June 30, 2022. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid has canceled his planned speech at the Maccabiah games, reportedly after organizers of the sports event refused his request to open the event and speak before President Isaac Herzog.

Channel 12, without citing a source, says the organizers chose to stick with the protocol from previous years, which says that Herzog as the symbolic head of state gets dibs on the first address.

The network quotes a response by both Herzog and Lapid, denying the report and saying that since US President Joe Biden will participate, Lapid has canceled his appearance in a mutual agreement to have only the presidents speak at the event.

6 hurt, including boy in critical condition, in series of near-drowning incidents

Six Israelis have nearly drowned this evening in four separate incidents.

A five-year-old boy is in critical condition after nearly drowning at the Kibbutzim Stream near Beit She’an, and has been taken to HaEmek Medical Center.

A teenage girl and two young boys are in serious condition and have been taken from Delila Beach in Ashkelon to Barzilai Medical Center.

A 21-year-old man is in moderate condition after swimming in an unauthorized beach in Haifa. He has been taken to the city’s Rambam Medical Center.

And in a pool in Tel Aviv, medics are attempting to resuscitate a woman in her 20s taken out of the water unconscious.

Eight Conservative candidates in race to be next UK prime minister

Eight Conservative MPs will vie to replace outgoing UK prime minister Boris Johnson, having won the support of at least 20 colleagues, the party announces.

Rishi Sunak, Kemi Badenoch, Suella Braverman, Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat and Nadhim Zahawi will all enter the first round of voting tomorrow, with the eventual winner to be revealed on September 5.

Gantz welcomes US killing of Islamic State’s Syria chief

Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks at a memorial ceremony for the fallen soldiers of the 2006 Lebanon War, July 12, 2022. (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks at a memorial ceremony for the fallen soldiers of the 2006 Lebanon War, July 12, 2022. (Elad Malka/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz hails the US assassination of the Islamic State jihadist group’s latest leader.

“Terrorism is a disease that must be fought all the time, continuously, and with great intensity. So do we against Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas, and so do our American friends, who last night eliminated one of IS’s senior figures in Syria,” Gantz says at a memorial service for the fallen soldiers of the 2006 Lebanon War.

Gantz adds that the US has “repeatedly demonstrated that its presence and influence are vital to the stability of the Middle East.”

Interior Minister Shaked says East Jerusalem housing plans delayed by just a week

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked attends a press conference at the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem, June 12, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked attends a press conference at the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem, June 12, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked appears to push back against Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s announcement that the construction of 2,000 homes in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem will be delayed.

In a statement, the right-wing newly appointed chairwoman of the Yamina party says she “refused to take the plans off the agenda and delayed the entire agenda — which includes housing plans for both Jews and Arabs — by a week.”

“The plans will be discussed, without changes, a week later,” she adds. “I won’t let only Jewish housing plans be harmed on my watch. That’s why I have decided to delay all the plans by only a week.”

Israel-Saudi developments to be announced during Biden trip — senior official

Joe Biden, right, stands in the Oval Office of the White House during a meeting between then-US president Barack Obama and King Salman of Saudi Arabia, on September 4, 2015, in Washington. (AP/Evan Vucci)
Joe Biden, right, stands in the Oval Office of the White House during a meeting between then-US president Barack Obama and King Salman of Saudi Arabia, on September 4, 2015, in Washington. (AP/Evan Vucci)

Tangible developments in the budding Israel-Saudi relationship will be announced during US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region this week, a senior Israeli official says.

“It’s a delicate relationship, it’s very fragile, novel in many respects,” says the official during a Zoom briefing to reporters. “I would urge you to be patient for a few more days before we can put out in the open what will actually be the immediate materialization of this process.”

The official says that Israel is operating as if “the steps we are taking now will only be the beginning, the start of the process of normalization between the countries.”

Israel supports the détente in tense relations between Washington and Riyadh since Biden took office, stresses the official. “It’s important for the US, it’s important for Israel and important for the security of the region.”

Biden is set to land at Ben Gurion Airport tomorrow for a visit that will include Israel and the West Bank, before leaving for Saudi Arabia on Friday. Israeli officials have expressed hope for progress with Saudi Arabia during the trip.

The US played down hopes for a breakthrough in Israel-Saudi relations on Monday, saying normalization between the countries would be a “long process.”

During Biden visit, Israel, US to release ‘historic’ platform for bilateral cooperation

Israel and the US will release a joint declaration Thursday on the future of the bilateral relationship, a senior Israeli official says during a Zoom briefing to reporters.

The document, titled “The Jerusalem Declaration on the US-Israel Strategic Partnership,” is a “historic statement… that shows the unique nature of what we have between our countries.”

“It is a platform for cooperation in the coming years,” says the official, adding that it is a “strong expression of the vitality and indispensability of the relations between Israel and the US.”

The declaration will be released to the public on Thursday after the meeting between Prime Minister Yair Lapid and US President Joe Biden.

The document addresses the Iranian nuclear program, committing both countries to “use all elements of national power” to counter the threat.

It also stresses the importance of US military assistance to Israel as “an anchor of regional stability,” according to the official.

Turning to the broader visit, the official calls the trip an “unprecedented opportunity to change dynamics in the Middle East.”

“There is a very strong wind blowing saying that the US is committed to working with Israel and its partners and friends in the region in order to try to transform the region.”

The visit will focus on what the two countries share, says the official.

Russia opens criminal case against opposition activist Yashin

Russian authorities have launched a criminal case against Ilya Yashin, one of the last opposition figures remaining in the country, over allegedly spreading false information about the Russian army, his lawyer says.

“I got a call from an investigator — they are beginning to search his home,” lawyer Vadim Prokhorov says on Facebook.

In June, Yashin was sentenced to 15 days in jail. He is set to be released in the early hours of tomorrow.

‘Surrender to terror’: Right-wing MKs slam gestures to Palestinians

Right-wing lawmakers blast the government’s announced gestures to the Palestinians ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit, with one calling them a “surrender to terror.”

Likud MK Yuli Edelstein says: “The left-wing government of [Prime Minister Yair] Lapid and [Defense Minister Benny] Gantz, which will come to an end soon, is continuing to present ‘confidence-building steps’ vis-a-vis the Palestinians, while forgetting to build trust with its own residents and people.

“It is time to return to the correct policy of Israeli power and sidelining the Palestinians far from the regional agenda,” he says. “When we return to the leadership that is exactly what we are going to do.”

Religious Zionism MK Ofir Sofer alleges that “thousands of illegal Arab homes are being legitimized” and that “construction in Jerusalem is canceled, and the race to placate [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] is getting significant tailwind in ‘trust-building’ ties with the one who pays those who murder our people.

“This is a surrender to terror, no less and no more.”

The PA has long been accused of incentivizing terrorism by paying monthly stipends to security prisoners and families of “martyrs,” including those who committed terror attacks. Ramallah argues the payments are a form of welfare.

Israeli drug-maker Teva, US firm Allergan to pay $54m in San Francisco opioid lawsuit

Opioid makers Allergan and Israel’s Teva have agreed to pay $54 million in cash and overdose reversal drugs to settle a US federal lawsuit brought by San Francisco alleging the drug industry fueled an overdose and addiction surge that created a public nuisance.

City Attorney David Chiu makes the announcement with closing arguments against the sole remaining defendant, Walgreens, scheduled to begin tomorrow. The lawsuit alleges that the pharmacy chain over-dispensed opioids without proper oversight and failed to identify and report suspicious orders as required by law.

The agreement calls for the two opioid manufacturers to pay San Francisco $34 million in cash and provide $20 million worth of the overdose reversal drug, Narcan.

Blinken will accompany Biden on Middle East tour, US State Department confirms

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) listens as US President Joe Biden delivers remarks to State Department staff, February 4, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) listens as US President Joe Biden delivers remarks to State Department staff, February 4, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be accompanying US President Joe Biden as he embarks tonight on his first trip to the Middle East as president, the State Department announces.

Blinken has long been expected to join Biden, though today’s statement is the first official confirmation from the Biden administration.

Blinken will accompany Biden in Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia.

The State Department says the administration’s goals for the trip are to “consult with Israeli, Palestinian, Gulf and regional partners on a range of priorities, including deepening U.S. ties across the region, regional security, support for a two-state solution, and countering shared threats, including those posed by Iran.”

While in Saudi Arabia for the GCC+3 summit, Biden and Blinken will “discuss integration efforts to support regional stability and prosperity as well as other shared interests,” the State Department says.

9 European countries: Israel hasn’t backed up terror label for 6 Palestinian groups

Nine European countries reject Israel’s terror designation of six Palestinian organizations last year, saying they will continue funding and supporting them after Jerusalem failed to present information backing up its claim.

In a joint statement, the foreign ministries of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden stress that “accusations of terrorism or links to terrorist groups must always be treated with the utmost seriousness. The designations needed therefore to be assessed carefully and extensively.”

However, “no substantial information was received from Israel that would justify reviewing our policy towards the six Palestinian NGOs on the basis of the Israeli decision to designate these NGOs as ‘terrorist organizations.'”

“Should evidence be made available to the contrary, we would act accordingly. In the absence of such evidence, we will continue our cooperation and strong support for the civil society” in the West Bank and Gaza, the statement concludes. “A free and strong civil society is indispensable for promoting democratic values and for the two-state solution.”

Israel to delay advancement of housing plans in East Jerusalem Jewish neighborhoods

Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s office says it will delay a meeting to advance housing projects for Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem that was scheduled to take place days after US President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel, an official familiar with the matter tells The Times of Israel.

The projects scheduled to come before the Jerusalem District Planning and Construction would have seen one new neighborhood built in Givat Shaked and another between Har Homa and Givat Hamatos, totaling roughly 2,000 homes.

The Peace Now settlement watchdog tipped off an Israeli reporter to the plan, and the reporter asked the PMO for comment. Lapid’s office said it had been unaware of the project and told the reporter that the meeting to advance it would be delayed, according to the official familiar with the matter.

As of now, though, the project is still on the agenda for the Jerusalem planning panel.

Man killed in brawl near Bedouin town, amid crime wave in Arab community

A man in his 20s is killed in a brawl near the Bedouin town of Segev Shalom in the southern Negev desert.

Three other men are injured, as police open a probe and say an initial investigation indicates it is a crime gang dispute.

The incident comes as authorities struggle to stop a wave of violent crime in Israel’s Arab community.

Israel announces series of gestures to Palestinians, a day before Biden’s visit

Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (AP/Collage)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (AP/Collage)

The military’s liaison to the Palestinians says Israel will implement a series of measures intended to ease Palestinians’ daily life.

The moves come following a meeting between Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah last week, and a day before US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region.

Israel will legalize the status of 5,500 undocumented Palestinians and foreigners living in the West Bank and Gaza, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) says.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians and foreign nationals are believed to live in the West Bank and Gaza without proper documentation.

Additionally, Israel will approve six Palestinian housing projects in the West Bank, increase the number of work permits for Gazan Palestinians by 1,500 to reach a total of 15,500, and open the Salem crossing in the northern West Bank for Arab Israelis to enter the Palestinian city of Jenin, according to COGAT.

Further measures are currently being examined by COGAT and will be announced separately if approved by officials.

Jewish Agency passes resolution panning ‘despicable’ violent protests at Western Wall

The Jewish Agency board of governors unanimously passes a resolution requiring the organization to take immediate action to address the situation at the Western Wall, following violent protests at the egalitarian section of the holy site last month.

The resolution, which describes the protests as “despicable,” calls on the organization to discuss the matter with Israeli government officials, to garner Israeli public opinion about the issue and to identify “actions that can be taken to ensure that all Jews are welcomed to Ezrat Yisrael (the egalitarian section), as they are all members of the Jewish people family.”

“The Jewish Agency will promptly develop, approve, and implement a detailed work plan for the above-mentioned actions,” the resolution reads.

World Zionist Organization vice-chairman Yizhar Hess, a long-time advocate on behalf of non-Orthodox streams of Judaism in Israel, hails the resolution, including the fact that one of the people who voted for it was Rabbi Pesach Lerner, the head of the ultra-Orthodox Eretz Hakodesh organization, which has in the past organized protests against egalitarian and female-led prayer at the Western Wall.

“Rabbi Pesach Lerner listened closely to Rabbi Rick Jacobs [of the Union for Reform Judaism] and to Rabbi Steve Wernick [of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism], and I heard with my own ears him vote in favor of the resolution condemning the ‘despicable’ riot that disturbed egalitarian prayer at Ezrat Yisrael. This is an important achievement,” Hess says.

NASA releases next wave of images from James Webb Space Telescope

NASA begins releasing the next wave of images from the James Webb Space Telescope, the most powerful observatory ever placed in orbit.

“This morning, folks across this planet are going to see the images captured by this telescope, and every image is a new discovery,” says NASA administrator Bill Nelson. “Each will give humanity a view of the universe that we’ve never seen before.”

Gantz visits warship that helped intercept Hezbollah drones, meets Navy chief

Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks with IDF Sgt. Shachar Furman at the Haifa naval base, July 12, 2022. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks with IDF Sgt. Shachar Furman at the Haifa naval base, July 12, 2022. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz pays a visit to the Saar 5 Class Corvette INS Eilat stationed at the Haifa naval base, after it was involved in intercepting several Hezbollah drones earlier this month.

Gantz meets with Navy chief Maj. Gen. David Salama to hold an assessment on navy matters, and with Sgt. Shachar Furman, who intercepted one of the drones heading for the Karish gas field on July 2.

“The Defense Minister thanked the commander of the Navy and the soldiers for their activities and significant operational achievements,” a statement from Gantz’s office says.

US announces additional $1.7 billion aid to Ukraine

The United States Treasury announces it will send an additional $1.7 billion in economic aid to Ukraine to help fund the country’s recovery from Russia’s invasion.

“This aid will help Ukraine’s democratic government provide essential services for the people of Ukraine,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says in a statement.

The funds are part of the $7.5 billion aid package signed by US President Joe Biden in May.

Transportation minister denies looting of lost suitcases at airport

Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli denies a report saying that some lost suitcases piling up at Ben Gurion Airport have been looted and insists that flights won’t be canceled as has been seen in London’s Heathrow airport.

With hundreds of pieces of luggage piling up amid recent travel snafus at Ben Gurion Airport, Channel 12 news reported this week that some suitcases that became separated from travelers flying abroad have been thrown into the garbage. Some members of the airport staff were said to have first rummaged through the contents of the bags that were tossed, looking for valuables.

“There was no looting of suitcases,” Michaeli tells journalists at a briefing. “The Israeli public should feel sure that its belongings are being treated with respect.”

COVID pandemic ‘nowhere near over,’ says World Health Organization

The World Health Organization’s chief says the fight against COVID-19 must continue.

“New waves of the virus demonstrate again that COVID-19 is nowhere near over,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tells a news conference, adding: “As the virus pushes at us, we must push back.”

Lapid and visiting Austrian chancellor sign strategic partnership, discuss Iran threat

Prime Minister Yair Lapid meets visiting Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, with the premier saying the two countries have signed a “comprehensive strategic partnership” on security, cyber matters, health and pandemic response, tourism, climate crisis action, trade and more.

During the Jerusalem meeting, Lapid says the leaders discussed deepening collaboration on combating antisemitism and on preserving the memory of the Holocaust.

“Additionally, we discussed the security challenges and relevant regional issues, chief among them the Iranian threat,” Lapid tweets. “I stressed to the chancellor the importance of international opposition to the [nuclear] deal, and Israel’s fear of Iran’s continued nuclear armament.”

UN Security Council okays 6-month extension of Syria aid

The UN Security Council adopts a resolution extending a system for cross-border aid to Syria by six months, the duration demanded by Russia while other members have sought a full year.

The measure receives votes in support from 12 of the 15 members, including Russia, China and the Security Council’s 10 non-permanent members.

Britain, France and the United States abstain from the vote, marking their disagreement with the shorter duration which they consider insufficient to properly plan the delivery of aid to war-ravaged Syria.

Islamic State’s Syria chief killed in US drone strike — Pentagon

The leader of the Islamic State group in Syria was killed today in a US drone strike, the Pentagon says.

Maher al-Agal was killed while riding a motorcycle near Jindayris in Syria, and one of his top aides was seriously injured, Pentagon Central Command spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Dave Eastburn tells AFP.

Key witness counters defense claim that Netanyahu was given gifts out of genuine friendship

Hadas Klein at the Jerusalem District Court in Jerusalem on July 12, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Hadas Klein at the Jerusalem District Court in Jerusalem on July 12, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

A key witness for the state prosecution in Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial tells the court that she didn’t deliberately try to hide messages on her phone during interrogations, as the defense lays out its argument that luxury gifts were given to the Netanyahus out of genuine friendship rather than any quid pro quo.

Hadas Klein, the personal assistant of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and an aide to Australian billionaire James Packer, is on the stand at the Jerusalem District Court for the start of her cross-examination by the defense after three days of testimony on Case 1000.

In an apparent attempt to frame the high-end gifts to the Netanyahus as an exchange between friends, defense lawyer Amit Haddad presents correspondence between Klein and Packer as well as Klein and Sara Netanyahu.

When Haddad posits to Klein that messages shown to the court are an example of the warm friendship she had with Sara Netanyahu, the executive assistant says that being nice to people was part of her job.

“I did it happily because it’s my job and I do everything needed, including being nice. It’s part of my job — I cannot tell Arnon that I do not agree to do it, because then I would be sent home,” Klein says.

A photograph of Sara Netanyahu (left) and Amanda Milchan presented during the cross-examination of key Case 1000 witness Hadas Klein, an aide to Arnon Milchan, at the trial of Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem District Court on July 12, 2022 (Courtesy)

The defense also shows a photograph of Sara Netanyahu and Milchan’s wife Amanda to underline the argument that they were good friends.

In an apparent attempt to undermine her testimony and imply bias, Haddad questions Klein on her political views, citing an article saying she is on the center-left of the political spectrum.

“I do not think there is anyone without a [political] opinion,” Klein says. “This shocks me. I have never done anything because of a political opinion. By the way, I think Benjamin Netanyahu is a great leader.”

Haddad then asks Klein if she voted for Netanyahu in the last election, but Klein notes that she doesn’t need to reveal who she cast a ballot for.

At one stage, Haddad accuses Klein of working with the police to discredit the Netanyahus.

“You and the police have an interest in blackening the names of Sara Netanyahu and Benjamin Netanyahu,” Haddad claims.

“I conspired with the police? Give me a break,” Klein responds.

After bitter diplomatic spat, Israeli ambassador submits credentials to Polish president

Israel’s ambassador to Poland Yacov Livne submits his diplomatic credentials to Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Duda told Herzog last week that Poland will send its ambassador-designate to present his letter of credence in the coming days, as the two countries move beyond a bitter, year-long diplomatic spat.

The two erstwhile allies have been locking horns since last year. In July 2021, Poland’s legislature passed a law effectively cutting off any future restitution to the heirs of property seized by the Nazis during the Holocaust. In response to the legislation, signed into law by Duda, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called it “antisemitic and immoral.”

Livne took up his post in Warsaw in February to coordinate Israeli efforts to extract citizens from Ukraine and to provide aid to Kyiv. Two Polish lawmakers visited the Knesset in June, the first to do so since 2017.

Boy, 3, dies in hot car parked outside Lubavitch Jewish center near Miami

A 3-year-old boy has died after being left in a car outside a South Florida preschool where both his parents are staff members, US police say.

The child is one of several siblings who attend Lubavitch Educational Center in Miami Gardens, the Miami Herald reports.

Temperatures outside were in the mid-30s Celsius (mid-90s Fahrenheit). The unresponsive child was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The boy’s father was being interviewed by police as of last night, the Herald reports.

“This tragedy hits close to home, and many in our school community have been affected by it. No words can capture the heartbreak and sadness we feel,” Rabbi Benzion Korf, the center’s dean, says in a short statement.

Korf says a therapist and grief counselor will be available for staff and students at the center today.

Israel’s NSO Group said lobbying, unsuccessfully, to be removed from US blacklist

Illustrative: A man holding a phone with the NSO Group logo. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Illustrative: A man holding a phone with the NSO Group logo. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel’s NSO Group, which is behind the notorious Pegasus software used in many alleged cases of rights abuses around the world, is leading a widescale lobbying campaign to get the United States to remove it from the government’s blacklist, a report says.

However, the ProPublica report says the efforts have so far been unsuccessful, and the company has failed get a response or set up a meeting between NSO officials and US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

The report says NSO “has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past year in payments to lobbyists, public relations companies and law firms,” citing “public records filed under the Foreign Agent Registration Act and conversations with people familiar with the effort.”

The firms have, in turn, “approached members of the U.S. House and Senate, as well as various media outlets and think tanks across the U.S., on NSO’s behalf.”

NSO has also sought for the matter to be raised during this week’s meeting between Prime Minister Yair Lapid and US President Joe Biden when the latter visits Israel, the report says.

Israel to send new shipment of defensive equipment to Ukraine

Defense Minister Benny Gantz has approved a new batch of defensive aid to Ukrainian emergency services, his office says.

The aid package will include 1,500 helmets, 1,500 protective vests, hundreds of mine protection suits, 1,000 gas masks and dozens of hazmat filtration systems, according to Gantz’s office.

Israel has so far avoided providing direct military aid to Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion.

The protective equipment will be transferred to the country in the coming weeks, the Defense Ministry says.

Government allocates NIS 3 million to fund climate change research on deserts

The Ministry of Science and Technology budgets NIS 3 million ($857,000) over up to five years to fund applied scientific research in the field of climate change, with an emphasis on a desert environment.

It calls on scientists working on relevant projects to apply for funding.

The research will be carried out within the framework of the DeserTech innovation community in Beersheba, southern Israel, a joint initiative of the Merage Foundation Israel, Israel Innovation Institute, Environmental Protection Ministry and Ben Gurion University.

On Monday, DeserTech will launch a startup map and state of the sector report at an event in Tel Aviv.

8 Israeli towns to be trained in green construction

The Energy Ministry and the Israel Green Building Council announce that eight local authorities have been chosen for training in the design of a net-zero carbon emissions policy for the construction of buildings.

The localities are Bat-Yam and Kfar Qassem in central Israel; Jadeida Makr, Tiberias, Karmiel, Nahariya and Acre in the north; and Ma’ale Adumim in the West Bank, east of Jerusalem.

Gantz updates Egyptian intel chief on unveiled mass soldiers’ grave from 1967

Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks with the head of the Egyptian Intelligence Directorate (GID) to update him on Israel’s efforts to investigate reports of a mass grave of Egyptian troops killed in the 1967 Six Day War.

“Last night I spoke with my friend, Director of the Egyptian GID Abbas Kamel to wish him Eid al-Adha Mubarak and to thank him for his partnership. I conveyed my blessings to the Republic of Egypt and emphasized the country’s important role as a beacon of peace in the region,” Gantz says on Twitter.

“I expressed my hope to meet again soon to continue discussing areas of cooperation,” he says.

“I also addressed reports regarding the graves of Egyptian soldiers who fought in the Six Day War. I assured Director Kamel that the defense establishment will examine the issue with great respect,” Gantz adds.

On Friday, the Haaretz daily published an exposé on the mass grave of roughly 80 Egyptian soldiers near Kibbutz Nahshon and the Mini Israel tourist attraction.

Pregnant Israeli woman lightly hurt in alleged West Bank carjacking

An Israeli woman is lightly hurt in an alleged carjacking on Route 505 near the West Bank Palestinian town of Biddya, officials say.

According to police, the victim told officers that a vehicle with several suspects in it stopped near her car, physically forced her out, and drove off.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says the 29-year-old woman is pregnant and is being treated for minor injuries. She has been taken to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba.

Police and military forces are scanning the area for the suspects.

Horowitz says he’s stepping down as Meretz leader, will stay in party

Health Minister and Meretz party head Nitzan Horowitz leads his party's faction meeting at the Knesset, June 13, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Health Minister and Meretz party head Nitzan Horowitz leads his party's faction meeting at the Knesset, June 13, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Meretz party chief Nitzan Horowitz announces that he won’t continue in his role and won’t run for the leadership of the left-wing party ahead of the upcoming November 1 elections.

The health minister adds, however, that he is staying in Meretz and will take part in the primary for its electoral slate. He will also continue in his ministerial role until a new government is sworn in.

Meretz currently holds six seats in the 120-member Knesset, but recent polls have shown the party teetering dangerously close to the 3.25% electoral threshold, below which it would fail to make it into the next Knesset.

“I led the movement in three consecutive and difficult elections,” he says in a statement. “In the last election, contrary to all the polls and eulogies, we doubled our power. I am very proud of my and Meretz’s part in forming the ‘change government’; we formed a historic government that saved Israeli democracy and returned to the country’s leadership after 20 years in the opposition.

“Meretz is a democratic movement based on members and on an idea, not on one person. Party leaders are picked by its members, serve their role faithfully, and are replaced.”

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